While feeling His eyesJeremiah 23:9-24Ⅰ Those who talk about the theology of hope
I want to take up the people who called "prophets" for a while from now. About the fate of Judah kingdom, their role was not small. They swarmed around the king, and told contrary things to the word of God which Jeremiah told. It was a message even to be said as the "theology of hope", and it was a message that king who was facing the crisis wanted to hear really. Jeremiah is challenging a fight to them, but I think I want to peep at the depth of that fight from now.
The "theology of hope" is a masterpiece of standard-bearer, Moltmann of modern liberal theology, but at any rate, before the threat of Babylon on the heels of every moment, king Zedekiah and the people of Judah have been hoping seriously to hear the encouragement and comfort. Prophets who come out here were responding to that demand. It says, "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise Me, 'The Lord has said, "You will have peace"'; and as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, they say, 'Calamity will not come upon you.'" (16-17). Because they confronted Jeremiah, we have concluded very easily that they are "false prophets", but is it really so? Jeremiah says the the words of the Lord, "But who has stood in the council of the Lord, that he should see and hear His words? Who has given heed to His word and listened? Behold, the storm of the Lord has gone forth in wrath, even a whirling tempest; it will swirl down on the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; in the last days you will clearly understand it. I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil their deeds." (18-22); however the distinction of the prophet Jeremiah and the false prophets, where will it be on the earth? Unfortunately, it is not intended to be judged objectively. Would not Jeremiah hear scolding of this God as a thing talked about to oneself? Otherwise I cannot finish speaking. Even if he heard that it would be true for him, there is no wonder.
Ⅱ Be swallowed in a divine message
So, I would like to think about it; but, why "theology of hope" was born among them? The prophet group was old and had already existed at the time of Elijah. In most cases, that group had a sponsor, and he supported their activity. Elijah often acted alone, but it was special as activity of the prophets, and the one that acted in a group was accepted by people. It is because that theology was authorized as the national theology. In Israel, people had a higher intellectual level and had the power to see through the truth of prophecy. The prophet who appeared from God; if I say it roughly, it was based on "the Bible" that Israel came to value as the word of God, such as Law of Moses, it was in the standard of evaluation. Because God of the Old Testament is the Lord of grace, He does not only talk the harsh judgment. Although it has a condition that "If you keep My commandments"; He is a One as father who "hopes your happyness" (cf. Jeremiah 3:19-20). In that meaning, it will be good to say the "theology of hope" was the tradition theology of Israel. It is not an exaggeration to say that Israel was rooted in that theology and built up a promising kingdom on it.
However, it has gone through the times, and the contents of the "theology of hope" became sparse, and it has been inclined to the cult religion, and the word of God went forgotten. The people who was called the description prophet have emerged at that time, and they spoke the word of God very severe; it was in such a background. People who aspire to traditional prophet population, did not notice that such background was born in Israel, or their eyes might have gone only to the sponsor than the work of a prophet who speak the words of God, and the important thing would have been neglected. In such a background, the foreign religion, the goddess Ishtar and Baal god etc. these thing has entered and gradually. "Moreover, among the prophets of Samaria I saw an offensive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray. Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; and they strengthen the hands of evildoers. So that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah. Therefore thus says the Lord of host concerning the prophets, 'Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood and make them drink poisonous water, for from the prophets of Jerusalem pollution has gone forth into all the land.'" (13-15); these are pointing it. Already, they were fine false prophet. Because, "they speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord" (16). At that time, the oracle of the gods was predominant in a generation in the representative Delphi temple; but it behaved like as gods transferred, and it was the trickster of imitation. In the "History" of Herodotus, it is drawn the state of confusion of the country about which divine message is good or not. Prophets who flocked to the kings of Judah, would be the traditional theology at first, but already, they have incorporated the landscape of divine revelation of here and there. "'For the land is full of adulterers; for the land mourns because of curse. The pastures of the wilderness have dried up. Their course also is evil, and their might is not right. For both prophet and priest are polluted; even in My house I have found their wickedness,' declared the Lord." (10-11); Jeremiah has challenged to a fight against such a thing.
Ⅲ While feeling His eyes
"As for prophets: My heart is broken within me, all my bones tremble; I have become like a drunken man, even like a man overcome with wine, because of the Lord and because of His holy words." (9) Jeremiah was hit in the shock of grief with body trembling and anger. Because, he was a colleague and a prophet, also a senior to respect, but such one had told the words of completely different from oneself. The word of God informed it to him. Their evil that talked about vain hope in the ears of kings and lead the devastation of the land of Judah, does never be forgiven. The responsibility of the dilapidation that they must bear, is said, "For the land mourns because of the curse, the pastures of the wilderness have dried up". The Word of God does not stop to point out it.
I want to add one more, but it is this. "'Am I a God who is near,' declares the Lord, 'And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?' declares the Lord. 'Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?' declares the Lord." (23-24) Probably, this will be a foreword following after Verse 25. However, I want to think this would be the sorrow voice of God who had to referee false prophets. Some people says, this is the independent clause sandwiched between 25-32 and 15-22. This is a place with many discussion for a long time. However, it seems the 新改訳 version is excellent among those translation. The further explanation will be unnecessary, if we hear it as 新改訳 version. If we look at the God who is near before us, we will be able to know that we do not do never a mistake like a false prophet. No, more than that, He says, "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20). Before we stare the Lord, He will be staring at us. While feeling His eyes, about what is a lack to us as a prophet, or about we are receiving really a consignment of the word of God and about the vocation of God, and whether we are reading the Bible with all our heart really, I have a repeatedly listening those question and to keep it firmly in mind. I hope that we all of the believer would hear this question. Now, we are being asked to face to Jesus sincerely.